Many travel to Australia to experience the beaches, reefs and buzzing nightlife. Only the hardened venture into the aboriginal territory of Alice Springs in search of real adventure. Sam Derry-Woodheadwas of those intrepid travellers who had decided to experience the real Australia. However a normal morning run in this harsh environment turned into disaster when he suddenly became lost. Little did he know that he would have to survive solo for three days straight.
Sam's story starts at the point when he decided to spend his year backpacking around Australia. This is something that 1000's of teenagers do every year to get away from their studies, and to experience something new. He had grown bored of the usual tourist trail and had decided to learn the ways of the bush, by training with some local cowboys. The days were tough, and any free time was occupied by his favourite passion (long distance running). Running in the bush is far different from his home town of Surrey (England) and he quickly found himself lost, during the hottest period of the day.
It is not advisable to get lost in the outback, as many who do never return back. The outback is a desert whereby temperatures can top out at 50 degrees Celsius during the day, and then drop down to single digits through the night.
Sam's run caused him to follow the wrong trail, which subsequently resulted in him to becoming lost. Distressed, anxious and hot, he was unable to find his way back to his ranch. Every turn seemed to lead him further into the bush, where snakes & scorpions are more common than people. It only took him a few hours to become acutely dehydrated, as he had only filled a small amount of water into the reservoir of a backpack. The plan was to carry supplies that would be sufficient for an hour and not the three days that was about to unfold.
Day turned to night and Sam realised that he couldn't keep searching for the correct route back to safety. He decided to bed down in amongst the bush; however it was not long before he felt the full wrath of an outback night. Still thirsty and by this time hungry his mind drifted to the safety of Surrey, whereby rivers flow with water and mum's dinner is readily served up for him.
The next day broke and the midday sun once again caught up with him. At this stage he was running out of ideas. He couldn't stomach the thought of drinking his own urine, but by chance came across several bottles of saline solution in his backpack. Sam's father had loaded these into the backpack several months earlier, and it was just by chance that he had forgotten to take them out. Saline solution is partly made up of water, which in this environment was enough to keep him alive.
Thankfully he was rescued several days later, and there is no doubt that his father's smart thinking had in some way played a role in his survival. Saline solution is by no means the next big survival tool, but this story goes to show just what can be achieved with limited resources.
Bill Casserley is an experienced first aid trainer, who regularly volunteers at major events. Could you survive in the outback? If not then visit the paediatric first aid courses blog @ http://www.train-aid.co.uk for free life saving tips.
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